why does it matter if animals become extinct
WHY IT MATTERS Should it matter to humans that other life forms are disappearing? Many people think so. Human populations depend on plants and animals for much of their food, medicines, clothing, and shelter. Perhaps even more important, intact
ecosystems perform many vital functions, like purifying the air, filtering harmful substances out of water, turning decayed matter into nutrients, preventing erosion and flooding, and moderating climate. It is not known how many species can be eliminated from an ecosystem without its functioning being impaired. It is likely that an ecosystem with more species is more stable than one that has lost some species. For example, research has shown that grassland plots with a greater number of plant species are better able to withstand drought than those with less species diversity. This stability may well be important in the future, as changes in precipitation brought on by stress ecosystems. Some species are particularly important to the health of their ecosystems. These are called , because like the center stone in an arch, their removal can greatly affect the entire system. A classic example of the consequences of removing a keystone species occurred when fur hunters eliminated sea otters from some Pacific kelp beds. Otters eat sea urchins, which eat kelp. With its major predator gone, urchin populations exploded and consumed most of the kelp. Fish and other animals associated with kelp beds disappeared. In many cultures, humans value animals for reasons other than maintaining ecosystem health.
Animals play a prominent role in the religions or belief systems of many cultures. Many people value other species for the enjoyment they give. Still others believe humans have a moral obligation to live in harmony with other life forms. Whatever their reasons, most people agree that it is important to try to prevent species extinction. Not all people agree on how to do this, however, or what to do when human needs conflict with needs of other species. It is only recently that people have begun to be concerned about the decline of wildlife that has no commercial value to humans. Wildlife laws originally were passed to control exploitation of animals that people hunted. For example, international regulation of whaling started after hunting had depleted many whale populations. Whalers were worried that soon no more whales would be left and their livelihood would disappear. In the United States, the first wildlife laws regulated hunting of game animals to preserve populations large enough for people to continue hunting. Now, our concern has expanded to include animals that have little or no obvious economic value, like songbirds, as well as those we value for food or other uses. Note: Emphasized words can be found in the. TheWorldCounts, 30 June, 2014 ExtinctionБ Mass extinction is a very rare event. The most well-known extinction is when the dinosaurs were wiped off the face of the earth, but prior to that there were other extinctions.
In fact, before humans arrived on the planet, 99. 9% of all species that have existed have already become extinct. In those days, extinctions happen naturally over a long span of time. Climate change, changes in sea levels and currents, diseases, and the spread of invasive species are natural triggers which can cause the demise of some species. In our present time, itБs a different story. If youБve ever asked yourself, БWhy do species become extinct? Б you might not like the hard truth. But the fact is we humans are driving a large number of species to extinction. The majestic Mountain Gorilla, the Sumatran Tiger, the Rhino, the Bluefin Tuna are all in the endangered species list. Even the mighty Lion is threatened. How are we making it happen? What are the factors that are endangering the balance of life? Scientists are predicting that half of all our plants and animals will be extinct by 2100. Here are the reasons; Animals and plants are losing their homes Habitat destruction is the number one driver of species extinction. When we demolish a forest in a certain area, we have doomed all the living things thriving in that environment. When we cut off rivers with dams or build roads through a forest, we are destroying ecosystems. Where will they live? Do we bother to relocate them? Is that even possible? Maybe the big animals which we can see, yes. But more often than not, we donБt bother.
Deforestation has killed off more species than we can identify. To date, we have destroyed around 13 million hectares of forest, home to thousands of species big and small. We are destroying forests to supply the ever growing needs of our civilization for wood, paper, and other materials that come from our trees. Due to deforestation, we are driving the Mountain Gorillas away from their habitat and they are unable to handle the stress of having to cope. More: We are Overhunting and Overharvesting Hunting and harvesting are necessary activities of humans. We need to eat and survive. If this were our only reasons, the planet can probably sustain us. It can reproduce and sustain us with a steady supply. But we are overharvesting some species, like the Bluefin Tuna, the Whales and Sharks and some species of fish. These species are unable to reproduce fast enough to meet our needs. More: The Tiger is being hunted to extinction, not as food but for its beautiful skin and its organs which are seen as medicinal in some Asian countries. The same is true for the Rhino whose horns are also believed to be medicinal and for the Elephant whose tusks are made of precious ivory. We are no longer hunting them as food alone. They are the source for some of our products. Most of these products we donБt even really need. ThereБs someone new in the neighborhood Unknowingly and knowingly, we introduce new species to an ecosystem where these newcomers prey on the native species or compete with them for their food.
An example is when people accidentally bring in pests from one country to another. These pests have no natural predators in their new environment so they can spread very fast and destroy the balance of their habitat. There are just too many Humans Our exploding population is another main driver of species extinction. The causes listed above are compounded thousands of times by our ever growing number. We are competing for space, over-utilizing and our insatiable need are just overwhelming the other living things living on our planet. More: What can we do about it? We are facing a biodiversity crisis, thereБs no doubt about it. We are in the middle of a 6 Extinction known as the. Conservationists are doing what they can through carefully planned breeding programs. Governments are helping by banning illegal fishing practices and poaching. You can also help. We can leave the big tasks to the scientists, but you can make a difference in a big way. We are not totally helpless. We can co-exist. Be kind to our Environment. Lower your ecological footprint. DonБt buy products that are made from animals that are endangered. DonБt encourage this practice. If you donБt buy, they wonБt sell. Buy wood products from a sustainable source. Look for the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) label. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. DonБt waste so much! Read more stories on our environment and what you can do to help at References
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